6 Impressive Health Benefits of Iron You Need to Know About
Benefits of Iron You Need to Know About
Iron is an essential mineral for many metabolic processes in the body. It is primarily responsible for the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, but it also improves energy and focus, eliminates fatigue and boosts the immune system.
The benefits of iron are often overlooked until a person becomes iron deficient and starts experiencing adverse effects such as heart palpitations, dizziness and breathlessness. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, with more than 10 million people having low iron levels and around 5 million suffering from iron deficiency anemia.
If you need more convincing evidence that iron is essential for your overall health and wellbeing, read on to find out some of the most important and impressive health benefits of iron.
Health Benefits of Iron
Iron boosts hemoglobin
The main role of iron is to facilitate the production of hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues. Considering there are various ways in which we could lose blood, from injuries to blood donation or menstrual cycle in the case of women, we could always use the extra hemoglobin to maintain our optimum health.
Iron treats anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies in the world, not only in the United States. It occurs when the body is unable to produce normal red blood cells. In many cases, anemia can go unnoticed. However, in more severe cases, its symptoms include tiredness, dizziness, overall weakness and sickness (also called malaise), heart palpitations, pale skin or frequent infections.
Iron improves muscle strength
Usually, depleted iron stores are associated with muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone. That’s because your muscles and tissues work in vain in the absence of hemoglobin and oxygen. A shortage of iron also increases muscle fatigue and causes inflammation and pain.
Remember Popeye and his legendary love for the iron-packed spinach? Well, if you also want to strengthen your muscles and make your body stronger, you need to consume iron-rich foods such as spinach and keep your iron levels in check.
Iron boosts immunity
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of a strong immunity system. Well, guess what? Iron can help you with that by facilitating the production of hemoglobin and providing oxygen to heal the damaged cells, tissues, and organs in your body.
If you want your body to stay strong and fight off infections and viruses, then make sure you have enough iron in your body.
Iron improves cognitive functions
According to various studies, iron deficiency is directly linked to different cognitive impairments, such as “those related to attention span, intelligence, and sensory perception functions”(1). People with low iron levels in the blood show slower reaction times, lack of concentration and inability to pay attention. Restoring the iron levels can dramatically improve attention, memory and overall cognitive performance.
Iron reduces bruising
Do you bruise easily? If so, you might be suffering from iron deficiency. When your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, the production and function of blood cells, called platelets, that help your body form clots to stop bleeding, is affected.
If you constantly discover unexplained bruises on your body, it means you don’t have enough platelets in your blood. Luckily, iron supplements can help restore your iron levels and say goodbye to bruises for good.
The recommended dosage of iron
The recommended daily allowance for iron is between 7 milligrams and 27 mg, depending on age. Pregnant women and people who are already iron deficient or at an increased risk for anemia, such as vegetarians and vegans, might require higher doses.
Optimal levels of iron can be achieved by making foods such as clams, white beans, red meat, eggs, salmon, tofu, spinach or nuts part of your diet but iron supplements are also an efficient option. Just make sure you talk to your doctor before taking any iron supplements, as overdosing can sometimes cause stomach cramps and constipation.